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Mark Rein-Hagen is a role-playing, card, video and board game designer. Rein-Hagen is best known as the creator of Vampire: The Masquerade and its associated World of Darkness games. Rein-Hagen is also one of the original two designers of Ars Magica along with Jonathan Tweet. His work on World of Darkness has influenced the movie-series Underworld, True Blood, and otherkin sub-cultures such as Real Life Vampires and Real Life Werewolves.
Rein-Hagen and Tweet founded Lion Rampant in 1987 while students at Saint Olaf College, where they also met Lisa Stevens who later joined the company.:232 Rein-Hagen and Tweet designed Ars Magica, which was published in 1987.:232–233 Lion Rampant was encountering financial trouble in 1990, so after Stevens pitched the idea to Rein-Hagen and Stewart Wieck,:235 White Wolf and Lion Rampant decided to merge into the new White Wolf Game Studio, with Stewart Wieck and Rein-Hagen as co-owners.:215–216 While Rein-Hagen was on the road to GenCon 23 in 1990 with Wieck and Stevens, Rein-Hagen conceived of Vampire: The Masquerade, which became his main project for the next year and which the new company published in 1991.:216 Mage (1993) was based to an extent to a game that Rein-Hagen had imagined back in 1989 as something like a modern day Ars Magica, although this was the first World of Darkness game that he was not explicitly involved with.:218 Wraith (1994) marked his return to the design of the core games of the setting.:218 Rein-Hagen was developing a science-fiction game called Exile to be published in 1997, and which would be owned by a non-profit called the "Null Foundation"; however, White Wolf encountered economic problems in 1995–1996, which caused a falling out between Rein-Hagen and Wieck and his brother Steve Wieck, resulting in Rein-Hagen leaving White Wolf and taking Exile with him.:222 His Null Foundation put out a playtest draft of Exile in 1997, but the game was never fully published.:222 He founded the company Atomaton, Inc. a few years later, which produced his game Z-G in 2001; Atomaton ended in 2003.:222
With Tweet, Rein-Hagen published Whimsy Cards, Ars Magica, and major Ars Magica supplements through Lion Rampant. Tweet and Rein-Hagen worked with Stevens, John Nephew, and others who would become hobby game professionals.
Rein-Hagen, along with Ray Winninger and Stewart Wieck, made major contributions to D.O.A., designed by Greg Gorden of Mayfair Games in conjunction with White Wolf, but the game was never published; the game was based on a concept called "Inferno" that Rein-Hagen had worked on for many years previously at Lion Rampant, wherein players took on the roles of dead characters from old campaigns.:170
Rein-Hagen sold his shares in White Wolf in 2007 and left the gaming field.:222 Rein-Hagen served as a writer and producer for Kindred: The Embraced, a TV show based on Vampire, produced by Aaron Spelling and shown on Fox TV. Kindred was cancelled, however, following the death of its star Mark Frankel.
As of mid-2008 he was living in Tbilisi, Georgia, with his wife and child during the 2008 South Ossetia War. Rein-Hagen was evacuated with other US Citizens living in Georgia and started the now defunct site sosgeorgia.org to help track what was happening. He returned to Georgia after the war.
In 2012 Rein-Hagen worked on a card game called Democracy for his company Make Believe Games. This game was successfully funded by Kickstarter in November 2012. As of October 29, 2014, almost two years after funding, the vast majority of Kickstarter backers who paid for this game have not received a copy of it and updates from Rein-Hagen have been sporadic. On February 4, 2014 Rein-Hagen released a statement citing poor health as the reason for his lack of communication and promising that backers would get their game. Commentators were extremely unhappy with the tone of the message and complained that Rein-Hagen's ill health had not affected his ability to work on other crowd-funded projects.
In an interview conducted in the same month for The Gentleman's Guide to Gaming, Rein-Hagen spoke fondly of his former work on role-playing games and how he is working on a new role-playing game. Rein-Hagen elaborated on this role-playing game in March 2013, in an interview on Your Main Man Speaks, describing some of the mechanics and speculating on a release date without naming it. In addition he discussed his new game Succubus: The Reborn.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- Appelcline, Shannon. "History of Game, #10". 3 January 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- Mark Rein-Hagen at the IMDB
- Kickstarter campign location
- "Its All in the Game!". Make-Believe Games. Retrieved 2013-02-21.
- "Democracy: Majority Rules - A Game of Politics & Negotiation by Mark Rein-Hagen — Kickstarter". Kickstarter.com. 2012-09-27. Retrieved 2013-02-21.
- "Message received on kickstarter today". Make-Believe Games. Retrieved 2014-03-13.
- The Gentleman Gamer Interviews Mark Rein-Hagen (creator of Ars Magica, Vampire and many more games) on YouTube
- Interview with Vampire the Masquerade creator Mark Rein-Hagen on YouTube